Adulting 101: Essential Life Skills for College Freshmen


Exam season is upon us so that only means one thing while of course, achieving the grades that we need to get into your first choice college but also that it’s time to prepare for your first taste of independence. Moving an hour away or moving abroad is essentially the same step into adulthood that you are taking. It can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

As a previous student, there were many things I learned the hard way, so I thought, What better way to share my wisdom in hopes that the next generation doesn’t repeat the same mistakes as I did as a student? So without further ado, here are the essential life skills you need as a college freshman.

Get Practice In Now

While you are still home, it’s best you get the practice in now while being surrounded by your parents and those who do pretty much everything for you.

Maintain a Clean Space

A huge reality check for people is that you are now sharing spaces with people who aren’t your family or friends so you have to be extra considerate. You will not be getting people to clean up after you, plus it can create some real tension if you aren’t doing your part.

Keeping a clean space is extremely important, not only for your housemates but also for your mental state. It creates a safe and relaxing space for yourself, keeping your focus on more important things such as your exams or some self-care which is much needed when you are away from family and friends.

If you aren’t sure how to clean or what needs to be kept on top of, simply seek advice from your parents. A good rule is to wash pots as soon as you’re finished – soaking is not a thing—and to wipe down surfaces when they need to be cleaned; change your bedding at a bi-weekly rate; and do your laundry weekly as it can pile up.


Doing laundry is new for a lot of people, so a good rule of thumb is that colours, darks and whites should always be washed separately and on a mixed fabric setting. Another top tip is to turn your clothes inside out to preserve colour and let them air dry. This will save some pennies but also keep the size and shape of your clothes.


If you are a fan of cooking or have never been put into a situation where you’ve learned to cook some healthy meals, it’s your time to shine at home and ask as many questions as you can, whether it’s asking your mom to write your favourite recipe down or to give you a master class right before you leave.

Go With The Flow

A big part of adulting is being able to manage time and still make sure you are leaving space for everything from socialising to your studies. It can get a bit overwhelming at times so we’ve put together some tips to make this transition easier. 

Make Friends

Moving away from home especially puts you right back into primary school and if you aren’t your typical social butterfly, this might make you feel like a fish out of water but what helped me is saying yes to everything, whether it’s a couple of drinks at the student bars or going for a walk literally everything I would advise you to say yes to. This will force you out of your comfort zone but also gives you the opportunity to meet new people and people you connect with.

Manage Money

Something that hit me like a tonne of bricks was how much money you end up spending and the struggle is real if you don’t find a job. Not everyone has the luxury of their parents so I would advise that you look for a job as soon as possible. A part-time job teaches you the value of money, and responsibility and allows you to have fun while you are studying.

Time Management

You’ve come to school to study and get good grades so you’ve got to be sure that you are prioritising your studies over going out and having fun. There are so many tools and facilities for you to thrive, such as libraries or online sources, that we have to make sure you are meeting your grades and also learning new strategies.

Health Over All

A big part of adulting is knowing when to say no and also making changes in your life to make sure that you are happy inside and out. It takes a little bit of all the points made above to make a happier mind but also taking the time to yourself and doing things you love, such as reading a book, going on a walk or buying yourself something nice, whether it’s new gym leggings or a dress you’ve had your eye on.

Take the time to put yourself first, especially during times when deadlines are due and the stress is high. Being away from home can be another trigger so make sure you are making some time to go visit your loved ones. This can help you recharge when you need it. Going back home for me was such a blessing and it feels like a mini holiday away from the hustle and bustle of student life.

Final Thoughts

Going to study away can be daunting but it teaches so many life skills that school doesn’t have the time to. Things will come with trial and error but it is so rewarding and the best decision you will ever make. Just remember that there are supporting factors from every angle so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

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